After four terms of incumbency, Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard suffered a big lost Saturday as Kevin Rudd of Labor Party will take Howard’s role as the next Australian Prime Minister.
As of Saturday, Nov. 24, more than 70 percent of the ballots had been counted and the figures from the Australian Electoral Commission showed Rudd of Labor Party gained his victory with 53 percent of the vote while Howard of Liberal Party had to concede the election with 46.7 percent of the vote.
The 68-year old Howard has admitted the defeat and conveyed his congratulation to Rudd as “a very emphatic victory.” Expected to take office next week, the 50-year old Rudd is planning to open a new book for a better Australia.
“Today Australia has looked to the future,” Rudd said in a nationally televised victory speech, as quoted by International Herald Tribune. “Today the Australian people have decided that we as a nation will move forward.”
As repeatedly sounded during the campaign, Rudd has reiterated that he will put the two important steps toward bettering the nation; signing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and withdrawing Australian troops from Iraq.
Al though such ideas may be opposed by the United States, President George Bush on Sunday congratulated Rudd on his victory.
“The United States and Australia have long been strong partners and allies and the president looks forward to working with this new government to continue our historic relationship,” White House spokesperson Emily Lawrimore was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.